La Tête dans les Étoiles

This past weekend the city of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne organized a science festival entitled La tête dans les étoiles; les pieds sur terre! It featured Lubos Motl speaking on “Physics at the Planck Scale”, and the Bogdanoff brothers on “The Beginning of Time”.

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13 Responses to La Tête dans les Étoiles

  1. Arnaud says:

    Well, I’m not sure if you posted that in jest, Peter?

    I am slightly ashamed at a town in my country of origin putting on such a mish-mash, looking at the program, Lubos is mixed with a farmer’s market and wild bird conservation society. I think rather than hear the Bodganov I’d prefer to join the “cheese workshop”! Then again, Villeneuve sur Yvonne is hardly a hotbed of scientific debate…
    I think you previous comment about weird and weirder hits the mark.

    What you won’t know is that the infamous Brothers used to present a science and SiFi kids show on French TV in the 80s, which I used to love, as well as I (probably) a good portion of the Gallic physicists currently using your site. I suppose that’s one of these embarassing childhood stories they tell at weddings.

    How on Earth did you find out about this anyway? too much time on your hands, mate.


  2. Peter Woit says:


    I’ve been following the activities of the Brothers for quite a few years ago, and quite a few people have told me of their fond memories of the TV series.

  3. theoreticalminimum says:

    It’s funny Lubos still hasn’t stopped being a Harvard professor. Makes me smile. Thankfully the kids were already half asleep by the time he and the crackpot brothers gave their talks, and obviously Hubert Reeves would have made the biggest impression (although I am intrigued how he could have got involved..).

  4. Chris Oakley says:

    … wild bird conservation society

    Maybe they are the ones who invited Lubos.

  5. John Baez says:

    Is this their only performance, or have they teamed up to form a kind of traveling circus? Does anyone know? I’m in Paris for two months — it might be fun to see them if they come to town.

  6. MathPhys says:

    Are the B Brothers heavy users of plastic surgery? or is it the Elephant Man syndrome?

  7. Peter Woit says:

    Hi John,

    I don’t know about any more appearances, but the new Bogdanov book
    “Au Commencement du Temps” is coming out tomorrow.

    And on Saturday at 3:20pm, the France 3 channel is having a program about the Bogdanovs, with them interviewed in their Paris “gothico-medieval” home.

  8. Arnaud, that’s Villeneuve-sur-Yonne… Villeneuve-sur-Yvonne probably hosts other kinds of shows…

  9. observer says:

    Never more appropriate the saying ” …This is a place for everything and every thing will fit in its place”. weird at best.

  10. That was I call a neutral post. Magnificent restraint…

  11. YBM says:

    Would you believe this, Peter (I guess you did): again, there is a lot of “quotes” of you in their book.

    What’s hilarious is that they now present themselve as mainstream string theorists, quoting t’Hooft and Witten at every page.

  12. Peter Woit says:

    Thanks YBM, I’ll have to at some point get a copy and find out what I have to say about the Bogdanovs. If it’s anything positive about their research, it doesn’t correspond to my actual views.

    I see from the publicity for their book that

    “ils enseignent la physique primordiale à l’université Megatrend de sciences appliquées de Belgrade.”

    so I guess they’re no longer in Riga (where I’ll be visiting in a couple weeks) at the “Mathematical Center of Riemannian Cosmology”

    Funny, but the web-site of Megatrend University

    seems to think that they’re professors at Bourgogne University…

  13. YBM says:

    I doubt that they are actually teaching there, anyway they are registred there, but, as you noticed, it’s a plain lie to present themselve as professors from Bourgogne Univ.

    Megatrend is not a real university, it’s a private school of economics with a bit of engineering. By chance it happens that its director is the translator of the serbian edition of “Avant le Big Bang”.

    Same dirty old tricks as usual. These days in France, the Bogdanov are playing a lot with policital influence (they are members and have responsabilities in the presidential party, they get a new TV show on the main public channel by direct order from the french presidency, etc.)

    As disgusting as ever…

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